Deputy President William Ruto and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, who are embroiled in a bitter political supremacy battle, shared a podium Saturday during the burial of Jonathan Toroitich Moi at Kabarak University.
The bad blood between Dr Ruto and Senator Moi was clear when the DP did not visit Mzee Moi at his Kabarak residence ahead of the funeral service held at university’s graduation grounds.
Interestingly, some of the members of the Senate including Speaker Ken Lusaka, Susan Kihika (Nakuru), James Orengo (Siaya) and Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who on Friday failed to see Mzee Moi, were Saturday allowed to condole with him before proceeding to the funeral service.
Dr Ruto opted to visit the family of Mr Toroitich at their Kabimoi home where he condoled with his widow and four children on Wednesday.
Last year, attempts by the DP to visit Mzee Moi after returning from a medical trip in Israel failed as other prominent leaders were allowed to see him.
Dr Ruto was denied access to see the retired president who was said to be undergoing a routine physiotherapy session.
The former president did not attend the funeral service of his elder son and followed the proceedings from his home.
The sharp differences between the DP and Baringo Senator were not only evident in their body language but was also evident in their choice of words in their speeches.
Dr Ruto mentioned the name of the senator once when he invited him to read the tribute from Mzee Moi while the Baringo senator mentioned the DP’s name once in the introductory remarks while recognising other leaders.
Perhaps this is what prompted Rongai MP Raymond Moi a to call for unity during his vote of thanks speech.
In an apparent reference to the emerging political differences and camps in the political arena, the Rongai MP said: “Today we have come together from different political affiliations such as kieleweke and others but Jonathan has brought us together and let us be united as a country.”
He added: “Let us not pretend to be united. Let us be united because after all we shall remain in this country and we shall never leave this country because it is the only country we have.”
In his speech Dr Ruto called for political unity in the country, saying it is possible for politicians to reason together and build bridges of brotherhood .
“We can build bridges of unity and togetherness and have a great nation because all of us are here by God’s design and not by chance or mistake,” said the deputy president.
He said he will continue to support President Uhuru Kenyatta’s efforts to spearhead the political unity in Kenya for the prosperity and progress of Kenya.
“Today we have met from different political affiliations and parts of Kenya and we should maintain that unity for the sake of our country,” said Dr Ruto, adding that his political career was nurtured by Mzee Moi.
“I have come here as a son of President Moi to bury my brother Jonathan as I started my political career at Kanu YK 92 and I learnt a lot from Mzee Moi,” said Dr Ruto.
In his message the leader of Wiper Party Kalonzo Musyoka, called for political tolerance in the country.
Mr Kalonzo said that in his recent visit to condole Mzee Moi, the retired president urged political leaders to preach peace and unity
“As Kenyans we need to respect each other and forgive each other as this is what Mzee Moi who is our political father has always preached and that is why the whole nation is standing with the Moi family,” said Mr Kalonzo.
The leader of ANC Musalia Mudavadi in his message called on Kenyans on social media to respect the mourning families while discussing the death of their loved ones.
“It is particularly sad to note that some Kenyans spew toxic messages on social media and thus injuring the inner core of mourning families,” said Mr Mudavadi.
He castigated politicians using burials to abuse their opponents and urged them to refrain from such behaviour.
Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula urged politicians to work for the unity of the country.
“Today when we visited Mzee Moi, he told us to unite all Kenyans as political leaders and this gathering is a testimony that despite many political differences we can still find our unity and that we should bequeath to our children,” said Mr Wetang’ula.